United? Kingdom

United? Kingdom

United? Kingdom

As the European 'Union'? is struggling with its
unification process, so is the United? Kingdom. Britain has stepped in once
again and imposed direct rule on Northern Ireland following a spying scandal
which signalled the end of yet another failed attempt to establish a workable
Government.

"...British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Irish
counterpart Bertie Ahern, who have both invested much personal and political
capital in the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement, said their governments were "saddened"
by Monday's event.

In a joint statement, they promised to sell a restoration of
devolution before the Northern Ireland Assembly election next May, and sent a
message to the Irish Republican Army, against whom allegations of spying
precipitated the crisis.'

'The hard-line Protestant Democratic Unionist Party, led by
Ian Paisley, declared the Good Friday deal over. Britain should start over again
rather than "pump oxygen into a failed process", Mr Paisley said.

At the other end of the political spectrum, Gerry Adams,
leader of the IRA's political ally Sinn Fein, accused Mr Reid of pandering to
unionists who wanted to see the power-sharing arrangement fail.'...

This was the fourth suspension in three years of the assembly
and other Catholic/Protestant power-sharing institutions, and the feeling was
widespread that it will take longer this time to get the bickering factions back
together.'... The Dominion Post, 16 October 2002

An interesting letter to the editor appeared in the same
newspaper the day before the above report was printed:

" Since moving to New Zealand five months ago, I have been
continually disturbed by the media's simplistic representation of the
political situation in Northern Ireland. Primarily, the continual use of the
terms Catholic and Protestant instead of Nationalist and Loyalist propagates the
misconception that the conflict in Northern Ireland is solely that of religious
affiliation.

In fact, it is an enormously complex conflict composed of
many elements, including religion, economics, ideology, history and civil
rights, to name a few. Furthermore, the Northern Ireland administration is
composed of elected representatives of the people, with various affiliations and
ideals, just as the government of New Zealand is.

Identifying the administration as a mere representative of a
religion, and not of the people who elected it and the parties it serves,
reinforces the type of bigotry that has been responsible for conflict in
Northern Ireland for decades...

I appeal for a more careful consideration of how Northern
Ireland is represented..."