Issue 2 - 2024 200dpi

12 February 1998 Edition

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Editor's desk

Mo Mowlam was in Dublin last week on a PR exercise, including the obligatory appearance on the Late Late Show.

But all didn't go smoothly.

Mowlam was subjected to the kind of boorish behaviour which Dubliners are growing used to (or which Mowlam is used to when she meets Unionists at the Stormont talks) when she ran into two young male visitors from England. She was having a drink in The Long Hall, a pub in the city centre close to Temple Bar, the entertainment mecca for English stag parties, when she was approached by two men wearing kilts. Despite it being the weekend of the Ireland v Scotland rugby match, the two were not from Scotland, as was clear from their posh accents.

They verbally abused Mowlam, accusing her of being ``pro-Irish'' and then attempted to grab her wig, which she wears while she recovers from chemotherapy.

Others intervened and the pair of kilted Englishmen left.


Britain's only Independent MP Martin Bell, who stood against corrupt Tory Neil Hamilton, is perhaps not as squeaky clean as he makes out - and as his trademark white suit might lead you to expect. He has now come out in support of two Scottish soldiers who shot a young nationalist, Peter McBride from the New Lodge Road, in the back in 1992.

The two, James Fisher and Mark Wright, are serving life for murder and Martin Bell has joined those calling for their release. He claims they did not set out to commit ``premeditated'' murder and that's the reason he is supporting them. The fact that they are members of his beloved British Army might also have a little to do with it.

It all calls into question the limits of Bell's whiter than white moral universe. He becomes enraged and indignant enough to give up his career to expose someone who accepted banknotes in brown paper bags yet enthusiastically supports two murderers who shot a young guy in the back.


Another case which has been taken up by the great crusader is that of a couple in his constituency who say their insurance company won't accept that damage to their car was caused by a cow crashing their windscreen.


Tony Blair last week spoke about the values which underpin New Labour. They are - and Sinn Féin sloganeers listen carefully - Freedom, Justice and Progress. That's right. Progress, not Peace.


An interesting little snippet to consider as the US and Britain prepare to bomb Iraq in order to force Saddam Hussein to give up his chemical weapons is that in 1986 the US Commerce Department allowed Iraq to import strains of anthrax, clostridium botulinum and clostridium perfringens, all deadly biological weapons. A few thousand gallons of them could wipe out all human life on earth.

In 1987/88 British and Swiss firms exported 39 tonnes of growth media to Iraq in which to grow those deadly weapons.

Things you won't hear from the lovers of Freedom, Justice and Progress.

Or Peace.

An Phoblacht
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Dublin 1