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The democratic Troubles

Can the source of failure in Ulster be traced to a conflict within democracy itself?

By Arthur Aughey   February 2004

Book: Peace in Ireland: the war of ideas Author: Richard Bourke Price: Pimlico, £10

As Montesquieu observed in The Persian Letters, “If triangles had a god, he’d have three sides.” Intellectual reflection on Northern Ireland tends to reveal that sort of coincidence. When the god of reason speaks, it often speaks in the accent of a particular political passion. Richard Bourke’s book has no “side”; its passion is purely intellectual. It tells a familiar story, but in a manner that will stimulate the most jaded student of Northern Ireland politics. The book challenges those fashionable interpretations of Northern Ireland based…

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