Thursday 14 December 2017

Even now Jeremy Corbyn struggles to fully condemn the IRA

Labour's leader does have questions to answer over hanging out with Sinn Fein - and this history matters, writes Alex Massie

Triad: The UK Labour Party’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, and UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at the London Irish Centre in Camden Town, London, in 2008.
Triad: The UK Labour Party’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, and UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at the London Irish Centre in Camden Town, London, in 2008.

Alex Massie

I suppose that if you are under 30, it must be difficult to imagine a time when stories from Northern Ireland dominated the news.

The Good Friday Agreement - for all its imperfections and awkward compromises - went some way towards settling something that now belongs to something close to ancient history.

The young can be forgiven their ignorance. But there are many people old enough to remember what really happened in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s who seem determined to ignore historical record. In some curious, inchoate fashion dredging these things up is considered poor form, tiresome carping on about dusty history and even, sometimes, an example of how a good and kindly man has been traduced by appalling people armed with nothing more than the historical record of what he did, what he said and what he thought.

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