Northern Ireland Assembly: Peter Mandelson Snatches Failure from the Jaws of Success

Our most consistent contributor to the pages of The Green Dragon, has been Samuel H. Boyd. Born in April 1919 in working class Presbyterian East Belfast he is happy to state that in coming to live in Wales he has not emigrated but simply moved from one part of his country (The United Kingdom ) to another. His sense of being British is however the only thing he shares with the Orange/Loyalist/Unionist tradition. His roots lie rather in that progressive spirit associated with the old Northern ireland labour movement, which supported the miners during the 1926 General Strike and the Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War and offered evenhanded support for the civil rights of everyone in the province.
With his elder brother, Tom Boyd, who was Leader of the Northern Ireland Labour Party in the old Stormont Parliament over 30 years ago, he has a long record of standing up against both Unionist and Nationalist extremism and can remember being attacked by both sides in the 1930s.
He is now appalled at seeing the way Peter Mandelson has singlehandedly “snatched failure from the jaws of success” as the two letters below (both dated 14 February, 2000) show:

Letter No 1:

The Editor, South Wales Argus

(published on Monday 14 February 2000)

For the first time in history seventy per cent who voted yes in the referendum on the Good Friday Agreement have been defeated by the thirty per cent who voted no.
As an eighty-year-old, born and raised in the majority East Belfast community, I fear that British politicians, including Unionists, have yet to learn that setting unrealistic deadlines obstructs rather than promotes solutions. We now have an absurd situation whereby the Bill, now an Act, to suspend the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive will effectively snatch failure from the jaws of success.
Can things really only get better? Does Machiavelli Mandelson believe that this latest error of judgement will achieve such an outcome? If so it’s time for him to resign for a second time.
Sam H. Boyd, Cwmbran, Gwent, Wales.

Letter No 2:

Huw Edwards MP, House of Commons, Westminster, London

Dear Huw,
However much Peter Mandelson wriggles, he has been guilty of a most profound error of judgement in suspending the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive.
If Tony Blair is also in on the action it does not surprise me for replacing Mo Mowlam presaged a change in policy direction.
She was accused (unjustly) by Unionists of bias towards Nationalists. Mandelson, in my view, has shown the opposite intention.
You will, I hope, not try to justify to me this unfortunate deplorable decision. I know a fair amount of the nuances, hidden agendas (not to me) when crass stupidity and ignorance, coupled with arrogance and ego have led to disastrous decisions.
For Mandelson to tell us that he was unaware of the contents of the second De Chastelain report shows that he is either a consummate liar or a bloody fool. Either way it indicates he is unfit to remain or be trusted in the office at this crucial phase of the Peace Process.
As the enclosed copy of my letter today in the South Wales Argus and on ITV Teletext shows I condemn his action absolutely.
It is absurd that the 30% who voted No have now won in effect, by the setting aside of the Agreement, a renegotiation of its contents, truly snatching failure from the jaws of success.
Mandelson’s understanding is limited and faulty and his Second error of judgement, as in his first, should again be followed by resignation.
You should use your vote and voice to hasten as soon as possible a reversal of his decision.

Yours sincerely,
Samuel H. Boyd.

Samuel H. Boyd

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