Letter: Odd analogy for Unionists

From Mr Conor Cruise O'Brien

Sir: In your editorial "New Broom for Ulster Unionism" (29 August) you write:

The hope, however, must be that there is a Unionist De Klerk hidden among the rival candidates, a pragmatic politician who is trusted by his people and who can secure a realistic deal for them that accepts the legitimate aspirations of Northern Ireland's Catholic minority.

This analogy is a teeny bit flawed. De Klerk's great achievement was to convince the whites, who are in a minority in South Africa, that they should accept the implications of their minority status. In Northern Ireland the Unionists are in a majority. If anyone in Northern Ireland needs a De Klerk, it is Northern Ireland's Catholic minority, whose leaders are at present trying -with outside assistance - to take over Northern Ireland against the known will of a majority there.

The bogus "De Klerk analogy" comes trippingly on the tongue of Mr Gerry Adams. But it is a bit depressing to find this bogus analogy popping up in the editorial column of the Independent.

Yours etc,

Conor Cruise O'Brien