By P. Neumann
Britain's lengthy battle assesses the method of strategic swap in the British Government's place on Northern eire, beginning with Westminster's first intervention in 1969 and finishing with the Belfast contract in 1998. Drawing on an enormous diversity of basic assets together with lately published cupboard papers, Peter Neumann analyzes the goals, approach and restraints of British coverage in Northern eire.
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Extra info for Britain’s Long War: British Strategy in the Northern Ireland Conflict 1969–98
As London thought of itself as an outsider who had no stake in the inter-communal power struggle except the desire for peace and reconciliation, it believed itself in a perfect position to play the role of a mediator between the conflicting aspirations of the two communities. Accordingly, the British 34 Britain’s Long War government would make sustained efforts to balance both sides’ interests, and tease out the ‘middle ground’ where agreement could be found. London’s claim to be a disinterested outsider, however, was difficult to accept by the two sides.
Further, the British constitution is the result of centuries of piecemeal change, starting with the Magna Carta in 1215 and interrupted only by the English Civil War in the seventeenth century. Unlike many other liberal democracies, where the change from aristocracy to democracy had been abrupt, the term ‘revolution’ is alien to the British political tradition. In Britain, political challenges have been absorbed by a constitutional apparatus that is based on a ‘system of tacit understandings’ rather than a rigid code, and that has therefore proved flexible enough to adapt to change whilst preserving its symbols and institutions.
At the fringes of society, however, there were small groups of dangerous criminals who exploited old antagonisms for their own ends. In London’s view, Northern Ireland society consisted of the ‘bad’ – that is, those who committed, approved of, or stirred up violence – and the ‘good’, that is, the moderates who condemned violence, and who were prepared to work together in order to uphold the rule of law. In a passionate plea at the House of Commons, Callaghan declared: There may be 250 or 500 men in Northern Ireland today who are intent on dragging the country down so that it lives under the shadow of the gun.
Britain’s Long War: British Strategy in the Northern Ireland Conflict 1969–98 by P. Neumann