Editorial: Suella ​Braverman's comments showed an all too familiar lack of awareness about Northern Ireland

News Letter editorial on Friday November 10 2023:
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​Irish republicans, and indeed some people closer to the political centre, can sneer that the UK leaders do not care about Northern Ireland.​

The point of the taunt is that London will jettison the province without much thought. It is demonstrably untrue, because for more than a century both main parties have mostly stuck by Northern Ireland, despite bloodshed and huge financial cost. But it is true that only a small number of political operatives in Westminster take a close interest in NI, and so Britain is no real match for Ireland’s nationalist Department of Foreign Affairs.

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The lack of Ulster expertise was evident in an article written by Suella Braverman in The Times yesterday, in which the Home Secretary accused London police of bias in their weak handling of rabidly anti Israel marches since the October 7 Hamas massacre of Jews. Many protests have been infiltrated by Islamic extremists. When the alacrity with which police have threatened counter protestors who have the temerity to fly the national Union flag, or the zeal with which for monitor well-behaved Christian protestors outside abortion clinics, is contrasted the timid policing of Hamas sympathisers , Ms Braveman is right to point to bias.

The part of her essay on Northern Ireland used the term ‘primacy’ as if she, or whoever assisted her with her essay, seemed to adopt a republican critique of loyal order parades, in which sectarian Irish republicans perpetually depict unionists as the sectarian ones. When Ms Braverman rightly drew attention to terror sympathisers organising events in GB and NI, she should have been clear that the latter are republicans. That she did not know to be explicit on this point when unionists have shown unwavering support for Israel, and when republicans are siding with their Hamas chums, showed again a lack of NI expertise in a party that calls itself Conservative and Unionist.

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