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Poll blow for Blair and Unionists

Issue No. 1763

Poll blow for Blair and Unionists

AN OPINION poll this week delivered a hammer blow to the Ulster Unionists and New Labour.

The ICM poll for the Guardian found that just 26 percent of people in Britain believe Northern Ireland should remain part of the UK.

Some 41 percent said it should be part of a united Ireland.

The poll was conducted the weekend after the hue and cry about the arrest of three Republicans in Colombia. So anti-Republican feeling ought to have been at its height.

The poll reveals a collapse in support in Britain for the basic Unionist argument over the last 30 years of conflict.

Yet the government's approach to the Northern Ireland peace process still rests on caving in to every attempt by the Unionists to throw up obstacles to peace. The Unionists can only shore up support among Protestants by stoking sectarian tensions against ordinary Catholics.

And they rely on the refusal of New Labour to call their bluff. Blair is out of touch with the feelings of the majority of people on so many issues.

There are few over which such arrogance threatens such deadly consequences.

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Sat 25 Aug 2001, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1763
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