So yesterday hell froze over and Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams sat side by side at a table having reached agreement on the immediate future of Northern Ireland. As someone who can recall the IRA attempting to blow up the entire Tory party not so many years ago I never thought I would see this happen. You have got to give credit to John Major for helping start this whole process. His predecessor looked at Northern Ireland as if we were still living in 1916. Major had the strength of character to go against members of his own party and actually try and effect some positive change. It has certainly taken a while but at last we seem to have made some progress.
For all the efforts of Hume and Trimble in the 90’s we were never going to see peace achieved by the moderates alone. You never would have solved the cold war by getting Tony Benn and Joseph Tito to sit down for an amicable chat. You have to engage the extremists if you are to succeed and Paisley and Adams represent the extremists in N Ireland. The Americans should take a look at what has happened there and change their stance on Israel. Hamas winning the election’s was the best thing that could have happened as now we know where everybody stands. We may not like Hamas but they were democratically elected and if there is ever going to be peace it is going to have to be achieved with their involvement. The people who wage the war are the only ones who can end it.