Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Gestures from nationalists would go a long way

TOM Cooper, in castigating the DUP's Jim Shannon (Write Back, January 28), rails against the DUP and the Orange Order.

I hold no brief for either Mr Shannon or the Orange Order but, in my view, Mr Cooper paints, however eloquently, an overly simplistic and highly selective interpretation of the problems arising from the foundation of Northern Ireland.

Might I respectfully suggest that, rather than focus on his interpretation of past injustices, he considers taking his own advice to Mr Shannon when he states that: "Times have changed... adopt a more relaxed attitude to the new power-sharing political structures".

A good start would be to refer to this part of the United Kingdom by its proper name rather than the "north", as he does on two occasions in his letter.

Clearly, Mr Cooper is not sufficiently "relaxed" that he feels able to extend this small courtesy to the pro-Union community here.

After all, as I understand it, Northern Ireland's constitutional position within the United Kingdom has been settled for the foreseeable future in the Good Friday Agreement.

He might even find that "gestures" such as this from him, and nationalist politicians in Northern Ireland, will make a positive contribution to future discussions about flags and emblems.

As the Chinese proverb states: "A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step."

R J GIBSON

Belfast

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