The unspeakable in pursuit of the [apparently] irreconcilable

I hope I have got better at squeezing Ireland out of my system.  But I’ll allow myself one grumble at the performance of the NI politicians this week when challenged by Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern to find agreement by November or face close-down.  I listened to Martin Maguinness on the Today programme talking, talking .. until they thanked him and faded him out.  And the Unionist politicians were little better.  I know better than most how difficult it is and the record of the churches is less than wonderful.  But somewhere at some time some real leadership is going to have to enter into the situation.  What people outside find difficult to understand is how the ending of violence has actually made the gap and the bitterness between the communities seem greater than before.  It’s because enhanced expection of change [in the Catholic/nationalist/republican community] meets enhanced fear of change [in the Protestant/unionist community]

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