Page 1, 17th July 1970

17th July 1970
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Page 1, 17th July 1970 — Tories must confront extreme right-wing

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Tories must confront extreme right-wing


THE Orange march ended with patrols rumbling in half-empty streets. It had been a non-event. The tight-faced Orangemen marched to the tune of "Derry's Walls" -but only the music, not the words. The bellicose truth came out in the drumbeat.

Still, not a blow was struck, and later, in Finaghy Field, the marchers prayed for "Our Papist Enemies" that "their malice may be assuaged" and that "they may be led to the true Gospel of Jesus Christ." They meant it.

They were men of uncertain identity, tribal inheritors of a conquered earth. clutching a vanishing concept of Britain and Empire. In the streets. as they passed, the Catholics silently watched. or stayed indoors, or fled to the countryside. The Government later spoke of the "happy outcome to a testing day."

Yet in the Ardoyne, on the north side of Crumlin Road, the streets smouldered with tacit contempt for the smug relief of the newscasters. Women clustered silently on doorsteps. Men, inconsequentially, started a bonfire. The walls cried out in lurid chalk: "You can break our bodies but not our spirit," or "Join the I.R.A."

Ousted from homes

In the school, whole Catholic families. barred by Protestant threats from their new council homes, were bedding down like refugees. Outside, it was easy to spot the four or five young Catholic hooligans who, at the drop of a hat. could turn this district into a fury again.

Catholics who have been shot at, abused and terrorised. can still find it in their hearl9 to tell you privately that they know Protestants who are "the salt of the earth," and of the Catholics they know to have started some of the trouble last August.

The I.R.A.? "Well, yes, they're there. The 'Greens' (or 'Provisionals') are all right: they're simply nationalists and won't get involved in sectarian conflict as such. They've been known. in fact, to adopt a conciliatory role in the streets. It's the 'Reds.' the People's Democracy boys, you've got to watch."

In the Falls Road district, a quiet team of business and university men, workers, students, women and priests are keeping watch. They are the Central Citizens' Defence Committee team, patiently processing complaints. ready at a moment's notice to rush to any trouble spot to try to keep the peace.

Everyone here. is fighting his own obsessions. determined not to be paranoid. but crushed by a general sense that the Catholic areas have been singled out for restriction and degradation. They felt it during the arms search and what they regard as the illegal curfew. They feel it now as the armoured cars quite uselessly ride up and down the deserted streets, and troops swing their batons like the cops in Chicago. It is not. Ian Paisley whom the Catholics resent. He is the arrow that flieth by day. predictable, charismatic, without pretence—not the terror that walks in the darkness. By splitting the Unionists down the middle. and dragging the issues into the tight he has done the Catholics more good than harm. they say.

Callaghan hero

Nor, during my brief visit, did I hear a single Catholic voice raised in anti-British hate—only a reasoned assertion of their Irishness and the hope, one day, of one Ireland living in amity with a Britain sited in new Europe.

Their erstwhile hero is Mr. James Callaghan, the former Labour Home Secretary. Their prophet of the week is Tory writer Mr. Peregrine Worsthorne, who in the Sunday Telegraph this week exposed the unreality of the Unionist's English dream and hinted at England's boredom with the problem of Northern Ireland.

What the Catholics do resent is the Tory Government's link with their Unionist blood brothers. Why did the swoop on the Catholic district come so soon after Mr. Heath's vie tory? What will Mr. Maudling do when Major ChichesterClark goes—his fate is regarded as sealed—and the Unionist hardliners take over?

The omens are there. The Constituency Party of Carrick Fergus has passed a "no confidence" vote on moderate Unionist (Stormont) M.P. Mrs. Dixon. Others will surely follow. While Paisley the prophet thunders wrath from the hilltops, an honest but limited Chichester-Clark appeals to statistics and warns the people not to rock the economy.

This is not the stuff of which Irish politics are made.

Proof of sincerity

Catholics also resent the tact that, when the question of a second university was mooted, the location selected was not Derry, with its ancient cultural traditions, but the small Protestant town of Coleraine: that London's development aid to the province is not channelled where it is needed most. It goes. not so much to the West where unemployment ranges from 10 to 27 per cent, but more to the East where the jobless totals hover round two or three per cent.

Can it be just coincidence that the least assisted and most needy regions -including Derry, Tyrone. Fermanagh, South Armagh, South Down. West Belfast—are those represented by Opposition M.P.s?

'These are the questions raised by men like Mr. John Hume. the Civil Rights leader. now Independent M.P. for Foyle. so highly praised by the Cameron Report. "It is hearts that have to change." he told me, "but before Catholic and Protestant can establish effective dialogues they must be able to talk in a framework of political equality."

Legislative reforms are slow. There is a proposal to end gerrymandering by reducing the 60-odd local authorities to 25 --but it is still only a proposal. One man. one vote in municipal polls is now law, but the effect will not he felt until 1972. The proposed housing authority is not in being, and, when it is. will it include genuine Catholic representation determined not to he overwhelmed by subtle Unionist colleagues?

It is at the level of development aid and legislative reform that the new Tory leaders in London have their point of entry and a chance to prove their sincerity.

Turn to page two; Lord Longford—P.4

Tories must confront extremists

Will they stop appeasing and start confronting the rightwing extremists? That is the heart of the matter now.

Meanwhile. Unionists continue to fear the rising tide of the Catholic population — already commanding 51 per cent of school places. They continue to re-live the Boyne, to carry their Reformation history with them. to perpetuate in time a twisted Calvary.

Rut there are those among them. thoughtful and not without influence, who are starting to re-think their identity in more Irish terms. to examine the Irish cultural heritage and its prospects in a Common Market context, to challenge the assumption that a break with Britain and involvement with the South is bound to spell economic disaster.

They are few. but significant. And there are other hopeful signs. Several Protestant churches stand untouched in the Catholic "ghetto." The quality of the local clergy. Catholic and Protestant (when not involved in the Lodges), has deeply impressed foreign newsmen here.

They are living their ecumenism under the most demanding conditions and steeping themselves in the struggle for justice and truth.

Side by side with them stand the red-eyed and weary laymen of the Citizens' Defence Committees, dedicated and honest, and the great moderate centre of decent Catholics and Protestants who want no part in hatred and violence. Men like John Hume and Austin Currie are in Stormont, with Gerry Fitt and others, to show the positive contribution of which the Catholics are capable.

Their history still groans within them. Their passions, like the Protestants', can still be inflamed. The greatest tests are yet to come and cannot be long postponed.

But as even Mr. Brian Faulkner, that unsympathetic Minister, paid tribute from Belfast to the statesmanlike appeal of Mr. Jack Lynch in Dublin for peace on July 13, I left Belfast this week with a curious sense of falling under the spell of these people — a sense of admiration and of hope.

Dr. Ramsey to visit Uganda

HE Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Michael Ramsey. is to follow in the footsteps of Pope Paul by visiting the East African territory of Uganda in December, according to an official Anglican Church announcement.

Pope Paul visited Uganda from July 31 to August 2 last year, when he consecrated a dozen African bishops, addressed the pan-African Bishops' Conference and visited the shrine of the Anglican martyrs.

Archbishop Ramsey is to visit the same country from December 2 to 7, immediately after his visit to the Province of the Church of South Africa from November 14 to December 1. His visit to South A f r i c a, announced last November, will be the first ever paid to the Province by an Archbishop of Canterbury.

Dr. Ramsey will then fly north to East Africa, where he will visit the Anglican Church of the Province of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi at the invitation of Archbishop Erica Sabiti.

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