Saturday, March 31, 2007

Strange bedfellows

Peace-making usually means that you must talk and reach a deal with people you don't like very much, and sometimes even people who have been trying to kill you. I'd have paid good money to witness this scene, which took place before the preliminary northern Ireland accord was reached in April l998:

"It was in the Christmas of 1997 that Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness first went for talks in Number 10. When they sat down in the cabinet room, Adams wondered out loud whether it was the same room in which David Lloyd George had met Michael Collins for the negotiations which created the Irish Republic. 'Yes, I think so,' said Tony Blair. Mo Mowlam pointed at the window: 'And that's the window the mortars came through.' There was nervous laughter at this reminder that Tony Blair was talking to the political wing of a terrorist group that had tried to assassinate his two immediate predecessors as Prime Minister."

Some people in the UK say that northern Ireland is Tony Blair's signature achievement of his prime ministership. I agree, because it's going to improve the lives of generations to come, but what a long, strange, hair-pulling trip it's been.

1 comment:

mishdiaz said...

Amazing... truely! Hard to believe that it has only been 10 years! I just watched In The Name of The Father this weekend... very moving! I could not believe what these men went through.. and to lose your father is that way.. awful! The film dealt more wiith the prison the men were in, but the beginning interpreted the struggles and violence pretty well.. gotta love the garbage lid brigade! That was not the same Gerry was it? I think that was Gerry Conlin? (spelling?)Anyway, a battle to the very end.. Tony Blair definitely has his "legacy"