Letter: Defence options: a poll on Ulster; weapons obsessions

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The Independent Online
Sir: The discussion of the defence cuts by Will Bennett, and his comparison with the use of conscription in France (6 July), leaves out a huge influence that conscription could have in Britain. The death of conscript soldiers in Northern Ireland would concentrate the electorate into forcing our politicians to reach an early settlement with Eire. At present, for too many of us on the mainland, the events in Northern Ireland seem as distant as those occurring in Bosnia.

A rapid settlement would hasten an end to that climate of hate and fear that so corrupts the young of that beleaguered land. It would lead to massive financial savings for both Eire and Britain, which could be spent on rebuilding shattered communities. Before I am beaten down by the morally outraged who feel this lends support to terrorism - I hate and condemn the IRA - would those who urge referendums on Maastricht and other constitutional issues permit one on whether we keep Northern Ireland by the whole of the British electorate?

Yours faithfully,


London, NW3

6 July