Crunch Time — Testing Times

Recently on one of the television networks (it was perhaps the BBC) they held an IQ test across the UK using occupational groups in studios together with participants throughout the country whose responses to questions were fed into the assessment.

Comparisons were made between participants in each of the four UK capitals. The results placed Belfast in first position and Cardiff fourth and when sorted into UK regions the south of England came out top followed closely in second position by Northern Ireland.

The test, of course, could not be taken as a reflection of the intelligence of the total population in cities or regions but only of those who self selected themselves for the mass assessment. However, the question might still be posed, bearing in mind the IQ level shown by Belfast and Northern Ireland, why does the current impasse in the peace process still persist?

Of course the political leaders and their organisers may have been too busy making demands on their opponents, or felt they were too intelligent to participate, or indeed have been afraid to join in lest they they found out how deficient they were in logical reasoning, or just content to enjoy making demands that they know their opponents must refuse.

Whatever may be the position in Northern Ireland's politicians in respect of IQ, it still seems that Prime Minister Blair and his government still lack a true historical understanding of Irish history and politics when they line up behind Trimble and the Ulster unionist party by postponing elections to the Northern ireland Assembly once again.

This on/off game is creating a vacuum in which dissident Republicans and Loyalists will thrive so that the questions the government has put to the IRA will not be responded to except in general terms.

As I said in my previous article, just prior to the latest electoral postponement, the Republican paramilitaries have given the minimum and maximum possible statement conducive to maintaining Nationalist support for the peace process and the structuresof the Good Friday Accord.

From all reliable sources all the political parties in the whole island of ireland, north and south, except for the Ulster unionist party, wanted the Assembly elections to be held as arranged, and the delay is also not to the liking of the Republic's government.

Certainly, it would be a worthwhile exercise to involve the members of the British government and cabinet in an immediate IQ test to assess their powers of logical reasoning in the context of the views of the overwhelming majority quoted above.

Their one and only reason for postponing the election is the possibility of the Ulster Unionist Party losing ground to the other Unionist party led by Paisley.

The structures of government set out in the Belfast Agreement do not, and could not, say that any particular party should win a greater number of seats than another — after all, the democratic vote of the electorate must be allowed to determine this.

By postponing the elections once again the British government is itself lending credence to the view that the Belfast Agreement is no longer workable and that they themselves have come to that conclusion, although Tony Blair has said that it will not be reviewed.

Blair has talked about 'The Crunch' having arrived, but when it did, it is he who has fumbled, and he has now to face increasing pressure, accentuated by the calling off of the election, which is precisely the aim of of the Ulster Unionists whose trap on him has now been sprung.

There can be no guarantee that an autumn election can produce the result that Blair and Trimble want, indeed it might be much less acceptable to them than the one they've run away from now.

A small window of opportunity is open to them to think again and set a date for the middle of June, otherwise next year may be the next date to be considered after a review that the British government are reluctant to face but might find necessary.

: Samuel H. Boyd, Cwmbran, Wales, 11 May 2003.

Samuel H. Boyd