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What I learned in Belfast

Of course the Northern Ireland conflict was unique. That doesn't mean it holds no lessons for other trouble spots

By Jonathan Powell   May 2008

Click here to discuss this article at First Drafts, Prospect’s blog

The tenth anniversary of the Good Friday agreement has produced plenty of self-congratulation about peace in Northern Ireland (NI), but it has also smoked out a critical analysis of the deal by people like Charles Moore, Dean Godson, Peter Hitchens, Melanie Phillips and Max Hastings.

This right-wing critique, lightly caricatured, is that the Blair government sacrificed the moderate centre of NI politics and gave in to the demands of terrorists rather than defeating them militarily. The compromises necessary to make peace gave power to the two extremes. We would…

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