Letters: Labour, peace and Northern Ireland

Dear Sir,

The election campaign is over and there have been many interesting and often amusing items of political propaganda such as the Tory posters of Gordon Brown. Localised Labour posters have featured members of Warwick Labour Society in rather funny poses detailing the many things that Labour have undertaken in their thirteen years of power such as the National Minimum Wage.

However, the claim that Labour brought ‘Peace in Northern Ireland’ is in my opinion, a gross misrepresentation of history. It places Tony Blair above the other important leaders who helped to bring about the Good Friday Agreement. For a start, Tony Blair as Leader of the Opposition used to congratulate Sir John Major from across the dispatch box whenever a step was made towards a peace deal and this can also be seen in Major’s citation when he was made a Companion of Honour. Additionally, the role of the Irish Taoiseachs had in convincing the nationalist parties in Northern Ireland to reach a peace deal has also been ignored.

Moreover, the Nobel Peace prize did not go to Tony Blair or the then-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, it went to the leaders of the SDLP and the UUP – John Hume and Lord Trimble – because it was they, as well as the majority of the other Northern Irish political parties, who ultimately agreed to the deal that helped to bring about peace in Northern Ireland. We also cannot forget the mediation efforts of President Clinton.

Furthermore, this was an issue which was (rightfully) not in the national
Labour campaign due to its sensitivity and divisiveness. I believe that only one politician in this election – Lady Sylvia Hermon MP – ever mentioned it as part of her campaign. Yes, Tony Blair and Mo Mowlam played very important roles in the efforts to create the Good Friday Agreement, but we need to remember the efforts of all the other people who took part in that
momentous occasion.

Yours faithfully,

Laveen Ladharam


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