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September, 29th 2009

Good optics/sound judgment FAIL

– Liz Mair

Another brief highlight from the Labour Party conference-- Martin McGuinness, he of Sinn Fein affiliation (he's their deputy leader), apparently showed up in Brighton, at an event at the Grand Hotel, on Monday.  Sinn Fein being the political party that, to put it kindly, historically has been associated with the IRA, of course, and Brighton's Grand Hotel being the site of an IRA bombing in 1984, of course...

Norman (Lord) Tebbitt, someone who I don't generally tend to be the biggest fan of, is blasting Labour over this saying McGuinness' appearance was "inappropriate."  Seems fair:

Lord Tebbit has said Labour should not have allowed Martin McGuinness to attend its conference in Brighton.

[...]

Lord Tebbit was injured and his wife permanently disabled in the attack during the Tory conference in 1984.

Mr McGuinness attended a party organised by the Guardian newspaper at the Grand Hotel on Monday night.

Five people were killed in the Brighton bombing.

One of the best-remembered images of the night was that of Lord Tebbit, who had to be rescued from the rubble.

[...]

Mr McGuinness has admitted being in the IRA and politicians in Britain and Ireland believe he was a leader of the paramilitary organisation.

On Tuesday morning he spoke at a conference fringe event.

There are a lot of people, on both ends of the political spectrum, in American political life who, quite frankly, I wish were not (Michael Moore and Rick Santorum both qualify, at least sometimes).  But it is occasionally nice to work in politics in a country where the prospect of suspected former leaders of actual terrorist organizations don't rock up at mainstream political gatherings.

And for the record, no, that's not me hating on my "other" country or those who dislike (or outright despise) the fact that the United Kingdom continues to encompass Northern Ireland.  As some reading this blog will know, I'm not devoid of nationalistic tendencies or immune to arguments that, say, Scotland should formally leave the UK but remain in the EU (though it is also my now non-firsthand view that devolution seems to accommodating concerns about too-distant, cumbersome rule by Westminster pretty well).

But I'm not a fan of people blowing human beings and buildings up, or attempting to, as a general concept  And the idea of partying with people who may have had a hand in that, even 25 years ago, strikes me as not wholly appealing. [intro]

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