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Irish Conflicts And British Illusions

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Chapter Summary

What does a British politician do when he finds himself responsible for a social order divided by fundamental conflict? He writes a new political constitution for it. When the results of this faith in constitution-writing turn out to be oppression, war and suffering - as in South Africa, Nigeria, the Indian subcontinent, the Sudan and Ireland - he is apt to blame the natives for their lack of the Westminster spirit and to suggest that what they need are some even more ingenious constitutional arrangements, perhaps ones which they should frame for themselves. The illusions of constitutionalism have great staying power among those who never have to pay the costs of their own illusions. Just such illusions dominate the British government's White Paper proposing a constitutional convention for Northern Ireland.

Keywords:British illusions; British politician; fundamental conflict; Northern Ireland; political constitution; White Paper



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