I WAS AT a dinner party the other night with some friends of mine who had been eager Labour Party campaign workers in the 1964 election and who had sweated for months to usher in the new dawn of the technological revolution then promised by Harold Wilson. Naturally, I twitted them with the present chaos of the Labour govcrnment and the widely accepted certainty of a Conservative administration after the next election.
THE CIVIL SERVANT has traditionally been a butt for humorists. It was easy to satirise the seemingly obsessive caution and avoidance of personal responsibility which the popular mind attributed to the civil servant, whose prime skills were represented as being a perverse pleasure in preventing members of the public from getting satisfaction and manipulation of files to keep the buck moving-together, of course, with an insatiable thirst for tea.
THE CHARACTER of the opposition has changed very much since the General Election. Prior to then the Nationalists controlled the predominantly Catholic rural areas and in Belfast Labour was the main opposition party. But now the position is very much different.
BELFAST has had many organised pogroms bcfore August 1969 whose main aim has been to dispossess Catholics of their houses and jobs and to intimidate them to a point which will encourage emigration. The political advantages of a successful pogrom are obvious, one of the main fears of Protestants being the Catholic birthrate. Of course there are other political advantages for those who rally the people from the street corners by organising campaigns of looting, burning and intimidation.
THE ANSWER to Paisley's rise in public favour lies, of course, to a large extent in his personality. But while every fascist movement similar to Paisleyism needs the dynamism and attraction of an intelligent demagogue, its source lies fund~entally in the political forces which give rise to the movement which the demagogue dominates.
"THE PROTESTANT PEOPLE of Ulster are seeing the wonderful works of God this very hour-Jesus stands among us-he has risen us up to fight the forces of Romanism and all its allies. "
"Our cause is righteous and is washed in the Blood of the Lamb." Shouts of " Glory" interspersed with low murmurs of" Praise the Lord."
THE SITUATION in the North is now more grave than it has ever been before. When trouble broke out in earlier decades it cost many lives but rapidly dwindled in intensity. For months now, despite a massive deployment of troops, trouble has continued and even spread. In August trouble was mainly confined to two areas of Belfast; the Falls Road area and the Ardoyne area. Since then the Antrim Road and the Ballymacarrett areas have become increasingly involved.
THE TUMULTUOUS EVENTS in Northern Ireland caused the most serious crisis in the Government since Jack Lynch became Taoiseach. Indeed on at least two occasions the Government was in danger of breaking up and that it did not do so was due more to the fortuitous turn of events than anYthing else.
LAST APRIL a public opinion poll was carried out in this country, surveying political attitudes on the eve of the election. The poll was undertaken by Social Surveys (Gallup Poll), based on a sample of over 2,000 respondents throughout the country. Within the usual limits of sampling error this poll gives a reliable and unique insight into Irish political attitudes. The range of information provided is immense and in this article only some aspects of the results can be considered.
WE IRISH frequcntly strike our visitors as an introspective lot, highly sensitive as to what others think of us, especially when we are on exhibition, as at the Theatre Festival. Towards the end of the Festival's first week NUSIGHT had the chance to discuss it with three eminent visiting critics,'
Eric Shorter of the Daily Telegraph, Wolf Kauffman, who writes a column syndicated in about a dozen major American papers, and B. A. Young from the Financial Times.