A remarkable leaders’ debate

The televised debates between David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown have certainly proved a remarkable feature of the election campaign.  They have set a precedent for later general elections.  However, another important televised leaders’ debate has taken place this evening – in Northern Ireland.  In the second of two debates, the leaders of the Ulster Unionists, Democratic Unionists, SDLP and Sinn Fein have sat in a television studio – Gerry Adams sat next to Sir Reg Empey – to debate.  Those familiar with the history of Northern Ireland over the past thirty-five will appreciate just how remarkable, and positive, this event has been.  Though there is still some fragility in Northern Ireland politics, it is a major step forward, something that would have been considered impossible fifteen or twenty years’ ago.

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About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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2 Responses to A remarkable leaders’ debate

  1. ladytizzy says:

    This reminds me of other moments that have shaped my understanding and attitudes (chatting to Carl H, https://nortonview.wordpress.com/2010/05/01/the-home-secretary-on-the-pm/ ).

    The Troubles came up close and personal on several occasions; once by a group of German lads – it was all my fault; another, on a trip to the Republic of Ireland shortly after Bobby Sands died – I can still see the hard faces of the marchers as they paraded through Dublin, and the relative insouciance of the residents going about their day to day business.

  2. Carl.H says:

    I can only hope that peace prevails, having had my brothers do 20 odd tours of duty and lose friends, having searched for bombs myself and lived through times of terrorism far worse than we see today.

    It`s not easy for a man to lay down his gun and give up a feudal history, they all deserve and get my respect.

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