Telling It Like It Is Essay Research

  • Просмотров 185
  • Скачиваний 5
  • Размер файла 15

Telling It Like It Is Essay, Research Paper Telling it like it is Momentum Mo Mowlam 320pp, Hodder From all the pre-publicity during the past few weeks, you might have thought that Mo’s book was largely about the inner workings and tensions of the 1997-2001 government, revealed for the first time from within. It touches on some of these things,yes; but overwhelmingly this book is an intelligent, thoroughly readable account and analysis of the peace process in Northern Ireland. Its central purpose and its achievement is to demystify the twists and turns of the route to peace. After a brief (and salutary) history lesson, it leads us through the tortuous process that secured the Good Friday Agreement, and then through the even more difficult tasks of sustaining public support

and of actually implementing it. Mo, of course, is better placed than anyone to detail for us the frustrations, the hopes and miseries, the triumphs and the near-disasters that made up the progress towards agreement. What emerges from this account is not only a vivid sense of the sheer exhausting difficulty of it all, but an appreciation of the fact that it is small steps of give and take, something for one side, something for the other, that are needed – coupled with an ability to get people to trust one another, or at the very least to set aside their total distrust. There are lessons here for everyone involved in conflict resolution around the world – needed now more than ever. Towards the end of the book, Mowlam sets out in seven pages a checklist of 10 ingredients for

the successful development of any peace objective. Some of it is obvious, but there is much wisdom here: about inclusivity, about addressing past grievances, and about taking risks for peace. This should be required reading for Ariel Sharon. Mowlam describes how she recognised early on that her first and most important task – the sine qua non of the exercise – was to bring Sinn Fein into a realistic peace process; and that the second task, having secured the first, was to keep the unionists in it. Over time, though with difficulty, both were achieved. Mo’s lasting legacy will be the role she played in ensuring that there was indeed a road to peace along which everyone else could stumble. Without her the peace process would have been far more difficult, if not impossible. No

one can or should dare to take that away from her. She did it with a mixture of charm, insouciance and bluntness that was unique in the world of politics. It comes through in the book, too. I’m not sure that the effect is always decorous – “we were crap at handling the media”; “we had a plod on duty at the front of the house”; “I just listened and took the shit” – but there’s no one other than Mo who could get away with writing quite like that. This book has a breezy quality that is endearing and sometimes infuriating. At times it reads as though it was written in answer to a series of unseen questions, or as though items on a list are being ticked off. But then Mo forgets to do that, and her writing gallops off with its own story and becomes all the better

for it. Taken as a whole, this is a good read – and it will sweep along even those who never dreamed that they would be interested in the labyrinths of Northern Ireland politics. In the years to come this book will be remembered above all for what it has to say about Ireland, about peace, and about the resolution of conflict. That’s the accolade it deserves. I suspect that the immediate interest will lie, though, in what some will see as the lifting of a veil – on the inner workings of the government, and on the thoughts that went through Mo’s own mind towards the end of her period in the cabinet. We have no way of knowing whether the barrage of briefings did in fact occur in the way she describes, or whether there was the degree of coordination to it that she has come to