Magazine article The Spectator

Letters

Magazine article The Spectator

Letters

Article excerpt

Solutionism

Sir: A few days before winning the 1979 election, Mrs Thatcher's Northern Ireland spokesman, Airey Neave, was murdered by the INLA and with him died the integrationist policy outlined in her Tory manifesto. The permanent government then regained control and in 1985 brought us the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

To blame Enoch Powell for the consequent failure to achieve integration by virtue of the Ulster Unionist dalliance with Labour in 1978/9, as Bruce Anderson does in his 14 February article (Politics), is to miss the point that with the Foreign and Cabinet Offices back in the driving seat, the Gladstonian agenda would predominate.

Nonetheless there is later evidence to confirm Bruce Anderson's view that Enoch Powell `undermined every cause which he espoused' when on two public occasions, one minor and one critical, he did just that in relation to integrating Northern Ireland into the UK body politic.

In 1982, when an Order in Council was debated to bring Northern Ireland's laws on homosexuality into line with Great Britain, Powell spoke and voted against the measure on the pedantic grounds that he opposed legislation for Northern Ireland by Order in Council -- despite having supported the 1967 Sexual Offences Act. A perfect integrationist opportunity to undermine the Northern Ireland Office's desperate attempts to maintain a separate body of law here was thus lost.

Later, in the 1987 general election (in which he lost his South Down seat), he took time out to join with other Ulster Unionist MPs to drive around North Down in a tumbrel urging voters to back the archdevolutionist `Popular Unionist Party' MP, James Kilfedder, over the candidature of Robert McCartney, standing on a platform of electoral integration. Earlier in the year Powell had been explicitly and willingly used to prevent the Ulster Unionist party going over to an integrationist position.

The tide of equal citizenship was stopped in its tracks by McCartney's narrow defeat in 1987. Both Dublin and London breathed a huge sigh of relief. But integrationism does not go away. In its present guise it is attempting to wean London off the concept of looking for a solution to our ethnic dispute. Solutionism only encourages political instability. Resisting the rebirth of a Stormont legislature, scrapping the separate body of law and, instead, encouraging local government enhancement is the alternative policy.

Jeffrey Dudgeon 56 Mount Prospect Park, Belfast,

Northern Ireland

Date (the) rapist

Sir: Neil Collins (`Waiting for the call', 14 February) has been extremely fortunate in his recent experiences with the Katherine Allen Marriage Bureau. His dates all appear to have been amusing and entertaining. How unlike most women's experiences! The last man that I was `set up' with spent the entire evening telling me about his relationship with his therapist! Sexual inequality still exists.

Nikki Freedman 52 Princes Gate Mews, London SW7

Fathers and sons

Sir: I am reluctant to engage in a chain of correspondence of von Schlieffen proportions, but A.N. Binder's letter (7 February) about Englishmen as antipodean fatherfigures is ridiculous.

First, Fadden and Curtin were not Australians at all: they were Labour prime ministers who were somewhat concerned at the juggernaut which had just rolled through Malaya and Singapore. By Mr Binder's logic, a true Australian of the time would have said, `Bugger Darwin, let's save Suez.' Unfortunately, the first war had rather emasculated the number of true Australians of this type by 1941.

Secondly, contrary to Mr Binder's understanding, quite a few Australians did stay (and die) at Tobruk. And they saved it (and Suez) in the process. All without much help from Father, too.

Thirdly, of course the New Zealanders stood fast in North Africa in 1941. They had no reason to be anywhere else. After all, who on earth would invade New Zealand? …

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